I am living proof that gas masks work. In the face of the bulb’s chemical onslaught, I didn’t shed a single tear. Nor did I detect a whiff of the onion’s distinctive tang. If terrorists attack with diced onions, a gas mask will protect you. The federal government does not endorse the idea of civilians donning gas masks. The use of gas masks and hoods by the public during a chemical threat is not recommended due to legitimate safety concerns.
Those safety concerns are not trivial. Use a gas mask incorrectly and you can be killed by your own fumbling long before al Qaeda has a chance to get you. This is not to say that the Department of Homeland Security is totally anti-mask. They do not mention that “filter masks” can help keep out germs from a biological attack or debris from an explosion, and it says that “something over your nose and mouth in an emergency is better than nothing.
The Filter Mask
These respirators are rated by the size of particle they protect against and the durability of the filter material. A mask rated 95 means it will stop 95 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. The other particle size ratings are 99 filters out 99 percent of the 0.3-micron particles and 100 filters out 99.97 percent, an efficiency comparable to a HEPA filter.
The most common mask is N95. It can safeguard against the disease. In case, if you decide to get an N95 mask instead, be sure it has a moldable metal noseband and crimp it when you use the mask. It will help create a better seal. Some masks have plastic valves to release your expelled breath so the respirator doesn’t get too hot and your glasses don’t fog.